Thursday, May 14, 2009

Profile: Jeff Boudreaux, mixed martial arts fighter

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 5:27 PM

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When not defending his 4-1 record in the ring, Boudreaux can be found instructing classes or training with other fighters at Unit 2 Fitness on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

How did you get started in MMA and how long have you been with the Unit 2 Fitness Fight Team?

I’ve been with Unit 2 Fitness Fight Team about two years now and that’s pretty much my career in MMA. I wrestled pretty much my whole life. Once I finished wrestling in high school I did a little bit of college and went into the military. After the military I went and played a little football at West Georgia, so I’ve always been pretty active.

I took a long time off from wrestling and was actually looking in to getting back into it when a friend of mine had been training with Roberto Traven [Unit 2's head coach]. He told me ‘it’s not wrestling but you’ll fit in real well with it with your wrestling background.’

I came out here, trained with Traven, loved him as a coach and as a person and just loved the sport. That was my first class and I just took straight to it right away.

How were you selected to be on the Fight Team?

I started training with Traven, and from there, it’s the same with anybody up here. It’s Traven’s call. Once he sees you’re excelling, he invites you to start training with the MMA Team.

How is the Fight Team different from other classes?

We’ll jump into some of the normal classes, but we have separate MMA training. We have general training every single day for about two to three hours a day, then we also have training for individuals who have fights coming up. So the classes are still normal classes and we still do those, but we have separate training for ourselves and for the team in general.

Have you ever been in any street fights or any fights outside the gym?

The better fighters and the more mature fighters and the more experienced fighters don’t go around trying to broadcast that they’re a mixed martial arts fighter. You may get the ones who do that shit out of their garage and they wanna go tell everybody and anybody but that’s just what starts shit. If it happens, it happens, I ain’t gonna lie and say it never does but we don’t go around instigatin.’

That’s not what this sport’s about. The sport comes under a lot of criticism from being real brutal and just barbaric as a lot of people try to put it. If mixed martial arts fighters are just goin’ around and starting street fights it’s not gonna help that image and we try to keep a professional image. You don’t hear about professional boxers goin’ out and starting fights on the streets; we’re the same way.

Have you had cases where people from the gym have tried to start fights?

We are a legit, top-notch fight school at Unit 2. When people come in, they know what they’re getting into. If they don’t then they find out real quick. If they can handle it, they stay and they become real successful in what they do. If they can’t, they’re gone. They pretty much leave on their own.

It’s been two or three times that we’ve had people being disrespectful to the coach and disrespectful to the team and we don’t have that. If you can’t be part of the team, you’re gone.

Do you have any plans to go to the next level?

Absolutely. I currently am a full-time MMA fighter but you can’t pay the bills on the little stuff. I do train full-time and I have all the aspirations in the world of being able live off just my fighting. My goal is to open my own gym and start my own Fight Team in the future. Really, what I’m doing is getting my name out there in my fighting career to help push my gym, to get people to want to attend my gym because I’m the one that’s there.

Do you have a favorite MMA fighter?

I got a lot of great guys I train with here and that’s why I don’t like trying to pick a favorite, because we have a lot of guys who train here that are UFC fighters or are WEC champs that are just top-notch in their game. It’s not like in football where your favorite player is Barry Sanders, because I’m in the sport now. It’s easier when you’re on the outside and all you’re doing is watching, but I’m in the sport now and I train with a lot of the best. My favorite fighters are all the guys I train with because they help me every single day.

Do you think all the MMA movies coming out are accurate representations of what actually goes on inside the ring?

Not at all and I have not watched a single one of them. Like that new one that came out called Fight[ing]. That’s street fighting. That’s like a remake of the movie Lionheart with Jean-Claude Van Damme back in the day. Or the other one that was high-schoolers fighting MMA or whatever the hell it was with people standing around. It’s Hollywood doing just that, Hollywoodin’ up the sport. I don’t like it, because it’s not making a good name for our sport.

When you compare the movies to the actual sport, what would you say the biggest difference is?

Just the drama. Even the stuff they’re doing in the ring. A lot of these things Hollywood wants these guys doing with their actual moves like doing these spinning back kicks and flip kicks, you’d get your ass whooped trying to pull that shit off in the ring.

So do you try to keep it to simple moves?

Yeah. Watch the sport. The guys who are doing all this high-flyin’ bullshit, they’re not winning. It’s the guys who are sticking to the simple basics, hittin’ you hard and hittin’ you repeatedly are the guys who are winning. The guys who try to do all that flashy shit don’t last long.

When you teach your classes, what is your philosophy?

Go, just go, period. That’s the the philosophy I live my whole life on. You’re gonna be tired, but I promise you you won’t be tired forever. If you’re tired when you’re doing it, just keep going until it’s time to rest. And I’ll tell you when it’s time to rest. You don’t get better by not ever pushing yourself. If you get to that point where you’re feeling exhausted and feeling tired and you stop every single time, you’ll never get past that point.

As long as you keep pushing yourself, you’re always gonna get better. I don’t care what it is, whether it’s a normal office job or whether it’s training every single day. Those are the students I love to teach. The ones who always push themselves, because I’m the same way. I always have one more round.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get involved in MMA or come down to Unit 2?

Find a good coach. Unit 2’s definitely a good place to be. Roberto Traven is the best coach. I love that man; he’s been everything to me in this sport as far as training and as far as everyday life. He’s been like a father to me. But if you don’t live around here and you can’t come here, find a coach like that because the coach is the one who will make the sport fun and make you wanna keep doing it.

If you’re doing it yourself or if you’re doing it with some people who are never getting better and never make you feel like you’re getting better, then you’ll get bored real quick.

When you get around to opening your own gym, are you still going to go to Unit 2?

Absolutely, I’ll always be a part of Traven till I die. My school won’t be too far from here anyway, but no matter where it’s at or where life takes me, I’m always gonna be apart of Roberto Traven’s Fight Team.

Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Pretty much just that. I live by the statement “never quit.” That’s the thing Traven instilled in me. I’ve always lived by it. Traven’s my number one training partner and my coach and it’s awesome to train with someone who has the same kind of values I have, in life and in this sport.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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